holiday gifts 2019

54 Surprising, Delightful, and Weird Holiday Gifts Under $50

From an aesthete’s Tums to hyperrealistic ceramic peanuts

Photo: Joe Lingeman/JOE LINGEMAN
Photo: Joe Lingeman/JOE LINGEMAN

Typically, we share recommendations for the best products, period — it doesn’t matter when they came out as long as they are exceptionally useful, beautiful, surprising, or otherwise worth recommending. This year we have gone in a different direction, focusing almost entirely on the world of the new. Here, you’ll find a wide assortment of recently released things for every person on your list, from mood music for a plant owner (a rerelease of a 1976 record that apparently helps monsteras and ZZ’s grow) to a big-dog-specific tote for a pit-bull parent. Plus, of course, hundreds of other ideas, from a vase that grows an avocado (seen above, $45 from ilexstudio.com) to a handful eerily realistic ceramic peanuts to a Lucite cat bed that could easily double as a side table. Don’t miss all of the Strategist’s holiday gift coverage right here, too.

Zooey Deschanel’s Butter Lettuce

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

To be grown in her newly launched self-watering vertical garden.

Downtown Cowboy Hat

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Appropriate for a rodeo in Mesquite or a shopping day in Chinatown.

Court Cards

Obscure Art Book

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

It documents German-born artist Felix Burrichter’s exhibition at the Swiss Institute, and, to be honest, we really liked the cover.

Streetwear Ken

$38
Photo: Courtesy of vendor

He looks about ready to flex on the corner of Mercer and Howard.

Start-up Stomach Relievers

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Tums for the Everlane set.

Mood Music for Succulents

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Mort Garson’s recently rereleased, Moog-heavy 1976 record is meant to help houseplants grow.

Shelf-Worthy Lube

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

The bottle comes with a little easy-grip koozie.

Trompe L’Oeil Cat Toy

Photo: Joe Lingeman

The scales and spots on this stuffed salmon are eerily realistic.

Cartoon Cooler

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

An unlikely but charming collaboration between SpongeBob and Igloo.

CBD Lip Balm

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

The first non-soap, non-candle offering from Maine-based Wary Meyers.

Hinoki Bath

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Like a Japanese forest in a bag.

Coveted Kids’ Toy

Skyrocket Blume Doll
$9
Photo: Courtesy of vendor

These Blume dolls grow, wacky hair first, out of a plastic planter.

Recycled-Plastic Cutting Board

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Sold out three days after it launched in July, it’s now back in stock.

Milky Face Wash

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

From HoliFrog, an entirely face-wash-focused beauty brand.

Silk Scrunchie

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

The color, according to Judi Rosen, is “Laura Ashley threw up.”

Chengdu Chili Sauce

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Newly available in the U.S.; “its fragrancy lingers,” according to Grub Street. 

Display-Worthy Toilet Paper

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Silky, three ply, and clog free.

Bean-to-Stick Chocolate

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Cacao from the Dominican Republic, processed into sticks in Red Hook.

’90s Tank

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

It looks straight out of a Delia’s catalogue.

The New Black Vanguard

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Curator and critic Antwaun Sargent’s new fashion-photography book.

Avocado Planter

Watch as its seed grows roots.

Biodegradable Glitter

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

For a more sustainable New Year’s.

Pastel Goblets

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Coupe glasses from Sir/Madam.

Bowl Sweatshirt

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Aplat’s cotton cover is a less wasteful alternative to tinfoil.

TWA Socks

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

So your Saarinen enthusiast doesn’t have to trek to JFK.

Extremely Online T-Shirt

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Your 22-year-old will get it.

Ceramic Peanuts

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Carol Joo Lee’s sculptures are fairly indistinguishable from the real thing.

One-Handed Knife Cleaner

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

It’s meant to be mounted inside the sink.

Non-Fusty Puzzle

Photo: Courtesy of vendor/Copyright: James E. Pelzer

Featuring the Site of Reversible Destiny in Yoro Park, Japan.

Fresh Rice

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Direct from Japanese farmers.

Sans-Serif Magnet Letters

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

These are made from soft foam; punctuation marks included.

Misshapen Carrots

Photo: THI LAM (MISFITS MARKET)

A weekly subscription for 14 slightly worse-for-wear (but no less delicious) fruits and vegetables.

Pineapple Soy Sauce

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Fermented with black soybeans and, yes, Taiwanese-grown pineapples.

Never-Before-Seen Seuss

$11
Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Based on a manuscript discovered in 2013.

Element of Surprise

Photo: Courtesy of Vendor

Inside could be a temporary tattoo or a piece of candy.

Tinsley Mortimer’s Eyelashes

Photo: Courtesy of Vendor

A collaboration between Winky Lux and the Real Housewife.

Specific Cookbook

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

From carbonara lasagna to sweet-pea lasagna.

Keto-Friendly Cereal

Unlosable Keys

Tile Sticker 2-Pack
$35

The Tile Bluetooth tracker, now in sticker form.

Distinguished Onesie

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Baby pj’s from Paper Cape, made from 100 percent pima cotton.

Art Hat

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

A collaboration between Only NY and the Brooklyn Museum.

BirthJays

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Pre-rolled birthday-candle-shaped spliffs.

Bird Buddy

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

This Hape toy wobbles and flaps her wings.

Moon-Landing Kit

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

From buzzed-about LEGO alternative Plus-Plus.

Memphis-Inspired Crayons

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

They’re made to order within three weeks.

Broadway Baby ABCs

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

“She’s brilliant and bold with talent in meters … Ladies and gentlemen, Bernadette Peters!”

Square Shades

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

For the teen who is over round lenses.

Modern Duck Umbrella

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Its canopy is meant to recall a composition notebook.

Brooklyn-Made Sake

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

It was bound to happen.

Non-Gluey-Feeling Lip Gloss

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

From cruelty-free brand Tower 28; made with apricot-kernel oil.

Cactus-Pear Plate

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

Modern chinoiserie from designer Dingding Hu.

Art-Collector Cosplay

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

The point of this board game is to amass the most valuable art collection, as well as the most cash.

Toddler Pots

Photo: Courtesy of vendor

If all those wooden kitchen toys feel a little staid.

*This article appears in the November 25, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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54 Surprising, Delightful, and Weird Holiday Gifts Under $50